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Saturday, October 8, 2016

Our View Or God's?

 The largeness of our view of ourselves often keeps us from experiencing the largeness of God. When all we see is our script, our own argument, our own perspective, it is nearly impossible for us to see life any other way. We love the false security of our dimly-lit theater more than the all-encompassing light outside of the door. 
 Paradoxically, in our large view of ourselves, our view can also be very small. We can feel quite insignificant while we bask in the artificial glow of our own spotlight. It is a strange thing: simultaneously, our vision can be both telescopic and myopic. People behind the door master this well, all the while lacking a balanced perspective on themselves, God, and others.
 If we are to cease living such a divided and empty life - if we are to satisfy the longing that each of us has to be loved, validated, accepted, forgiven, and complete - we must dare ourselves to look over God's shoulder and see things through His eyes.
 In a culture that desires to make the self larger than life, to elevate the ego to new heights of greatness, one of the most radical concepts about Christianity is that decreasing is how we increase; becoming nothings gains us everything. In seeing our need to be filled with what matters, we must look to the Almighty, not in a sense of entitlement, but one of humility. As big as we often make ourselves out to seem, life often teaches us otherwise. We are just broken and vulnerable, trusting no one except ourselves. Even then, our own judgement regularly fails us, showing us how little control we really have in life.
 Part of God's plan for us is to introduce to us another way of thinking, to balance our perspective so that we are enabled to view ourselves and our lives in a different way. God makes it abundantly clear to us that His view isn't anything like ours. His thoughts, His ways, don't match up to ours (Isaiah 55: 8-9). And that's okay...because we're the ones who have to adjust to Him, not the other way around.
 Humans put so much emphasis on that which doesn't last. We look to each other to decide who is beautiful, who is lovable, who is worthy. God doesn't see us that way. In 1 Samuel 16, we find the articulation of how God operates. The prophet Samuel had been sent by God to Bethlehem to go and anoint a new king for Israel, as was the custom. When he arrived at the home of Jesse, as the Lord had told him to, he requested to see each of Jesse's many sons to determine the next king. As each one came to him, Samuel kept expecting God to say,
"This one." But God didn't.
It wasn't until the eighth son was called - the youngest one who tended his father's sheep - that God said,
"Anoint him. He is the one chosen."
Imagine - the smelly, dirty shepherd boy is the young man God chooses. As God says in verse 7 of that chapter,

"The Lord does not look at the things man looks at.
Man looks at the outward appearance, 
but God looks at the heart."

David had a relationship with God. Thus, he became the future king of Israel and the one through whose line would come the Savior of the World (Luke 2:4-5). In like manner, God chose an orphan named Esther to be queen of Persia and to ultimately save the Jewish nation (read the story in the book of Esther), and He also chose a murderer and persecutor of Christians, named Saul, to become the greatest evangelist in church history - the Apostle Paul (see Acts 9). 
 The question for us then is, whose view will we take: our view, or God's?